March 26, 2002

It seems like every night I walk home from work there's a beautiful sunset. I used to notice sunsets once in a while, but since I started walking and since I moved to the ocean I notice them every night. And every damned night it's just gorgeous. And practically every night I can't keep myself from taking a picture. It's gotten so my harddrive is hopelessly cluttered with sunsets. And they're really not useful to me at all, except as fodder for my site. So here we go, a musings of sunsets. For anyone who misses them on his or her way home.

Posted by Alyssa at 09:48 PM
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March 17, 2002

While having a conversation with a co-worker the other day, I mentioned something about dying my hair. She said, "You don't dye your hair, do you?" Shocked, I was, that she hadn't noticed my fluctuating haircolor. Especially with my visible brown roots at the time of the comment.

I started dying my hair when I was 16. I'd gone to this summer program at a college, basically for intelligent geeks who wanted something that looked good on their transcripts. It was an odd experience, a bunch of geeks who found themselves amongst other geeks, only to discover when geekiness is the norm, you suddenly fit in. I cried when I had to leave. When I got home, I dyed my hair red.

I said I was 16--I didn't say it made any sense.

Anyway, since then I've been dying my hair, with henna mostly. It's a natural hair dye that smells like grass. It's messy and clogs your drains. I used it for 14 years.

Then suddenly about a year ago I stopped dying my hair. It wasn't really intentional; I just didn't feel like doing it any more. Maybe it was something to do with changing everything else about my life. I figured I'd let my hair be a color it hadn't been in a long time.

Then I was about to turn 31. 31 was a bigger deal to me than 30. 30 had been liberating, my life in upheaval but with me coming through with flying colors. 31 was re-evaluating everything in my life. 31 was suddenly being "in my 30's". 31 was a little scary. The day before my birthday, I dyed my hair red again.

I used a regular dye, but one that claimed to be herbal, that had no ammonia. It didn't stink like I remember my sister's blond hair dye stinking back when we lived together 10 years ago. My hair was gleaming red. It was brassy but flashy and I liked it. I got compliments from strangers on the street.

I've been dying my hair again ever since. I've experimented with different shades, all red, but some darker some brashier. I really liked the one I used last time so I used it again last night. I like being red. I feel a little bolder, a little more interesting, a little sexier, and a little more hot-tempered. I suppose it's a cliché, but clichés are there for a reason. Why be brown when you can be bold? Besides, it brings out the green in my eyes.

For any doubters, here's the proof:

Posted by Alyssa at 11:50 PM
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March 13, 2002

I overslept this morning. It's something I do periodically. I still managed to get to work on time, but I had to skip my walk and take the train.

If I oversleep, it's usually for one of three reasons. 1. I did something wrong when I set my alarm, set it for p.m. instead of a.m. or hit the time button instead of the alarm button, or in the morning I groggily tried to reset the alarm rather than snooze and did something wrong. 2. I stayed up way too late and just keep snoozing without noticing the time, sometimes for as much as an hour and a half. Or 3. I'm dreaming so deeply I simply sleep right through the alarm. I guess it was the third this morning.

I have a friend I haven't heard from in almost a year, for reasons I can't explain. This morning I dreamt I was walking home from work and I saw him walking toward me, talking to someone else I know. My friend has dark hair, but in my dream the sun was behind him and his hair was light brown--sunkissed and tousled. He didn't see me. I walked past him without a word, I think not really believing I'd seen him. I walked a few steps then turned around. I walked back up to him and turned him around. I gave him a big hug. We talked a bit and everything was ok. I woke up thinking of that hug, still feeling it.

I was walking home tonight and the light was exactly like it was in my dream. Which is a little surprising since the light is never the same from one night to the next as I'm walking home. San Francisco's sunsets vary as much as the weather from day to day. But the light was just the same and the walk was just the same. And I kind of looked for him a little, though I knew there wasn't much chance of my running into him.

I seem to be losing a lot of people from my life lately, due to circumstances beyond my control. It occurred to me that I have some control over this situation. So when I got home I emailed him. I'm not good at making the first move. I'm a chicken. I'm afraid of rejection and afraid of anger. I would probably never have called him. Chock one up for the tech age.

Even if I don't hear from him, at least I tried. It's scary to put yourself out there. I feel better about myself for having done it. No one ever got anywhere being afraid. I try to remember that.

And maybe my dream this morning will come true. The circumstances--the light, the walk, the mutual friend--won't be the same I'm sure. But it was the hug that mattered.

Here's the sunset from tonight--pretty damned beautiful.

Posted by Alyssa at 08:43 PM
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March 11, 2002

I think of 9-11 with a protective fiberglass shell in my memory. I don't let the full reality of it through the defenses or I crumble. It occupies a cubicle in my brain.

I watched 9/11 last night on tv. It's a documentary that sprang up out of a stunningly amazing serendipity. French brother filmmakers happened to be documenting a new young firefighter in New York as he went through his first nine months on probation. They happened to be documenting this firefighter when 9-11 happened.

One of the filmmakers, Jules, was in Tower One when Tower Two collapsed. When Tower Two collapsed, he was thrown to the ground by a firefighter who protected him with his own body. All of this was on film, Jules using the light from his camera to help everyone get out of Tower One, Jules running from the buildings, Jules on the ground--dust and depris thick as a tornado flying across the lens.

The other brother, Gedeon, filmed the faces of New Yorkers as they stared at the unbelievable sight of the Towers in flames, in pieces, in clouds of dust and smoke. His footage was equally stunning.

I watched all this rapt, in awe. But it was the crashing noises heard in the background as they were in Tower One that got to me. Jules explained that each crash was a body, someone jumping. The firefighters would turn their heads toward the noise, then a resigned pain would take over their faces. One of the firefighters said how unimaginably bad it must be up there for jumping to be the better option. The cubicle walls started to waver.

The scene of the two brothers back at the firehouse embracing, when each had been certain the other was dead, was another push on the fiberglass.

The scene of the people outside the firehouse cheering, raising signs of thank you, as the firefighters returned from digging through rubble pushed me over. The firefighters said they didn't feel like heroes, having only dug out one live person in 24 hours. Suddenly my memory was unprotected again. I felt the familiar pangs.

It's been 6 months. I go through every day without thinking about it. Even when Bush gets on his high horse talking about terrorism, I don't really think of his motivation. Even when I get on a plane and have to take my shoes off and get patted down, I don't contemplate why. It's just not something I want to think about. It hurts too much.

Yesterday I was forced to think about it. Well, I could have changed the channel. But I wanted to see this surprising sight, this documentary that had a one in a million chance of ever being made. And it was a one in a million experience. One I won't watch again. It hurts too much.

Posted by Alyssa at 10:18 PM
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March 04, 2002

Lately I've been contemplating my life. Well, not lately, but for awhile. I get cranky with myself for not accomplishing things, for sticking with the easy road, for sometimes not taking advantage of opportunities. All valid points. But sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I'm not doing that I don't enjoy what I am doing. So here is my list of 10 simple pleasures in my life today.

1. Once I dragged myself out of bed, listening to Sarah and Vinnie on the radio 97.3--Alice.

2. Hearing the "got mail" sound on my email when I opened it.

3. The first sip of green tea, hot, almost burning as it warmed my throat.

4. Having lunch with a co-worker, talking about movies the whole time.

5. Making someone laugh at something I didn't realize would be so funny.

6. Having a co-worker stroke my hair as she walked by, just because it felt nice.

7. Topping the final hill on the walk home, knowing it was all downhill from there.

8. Getting in a hot shower, my skin chilled from the walk home, the feeling of the water heating my skin.

9. Using my Body Polish, skin smelling like cinnamon, cloves, and lavender when I got out of the shower.

10. Listening to a song I like and singing along loudly.

11. Listening to a brand new CD for the first time (Alanis Morisette, yes I like her, I won't be ashamed).

12. Taking the time to put on some Burt's Bees Carrot Day Cream, which smells like sweet pastries.

13. Doing some of the dishes that have been piling up.

14. Eating something bad for me--in this case Old Amsterdam cheese...mmmmm....

15. Gulping down some cold water fresh from the fridge.

16. Settling in to watch a favorite TV show (Ally McBeal, again I won't be ashamed).

17. Putting on clean kitty pajamas and planning to go to bed at a reasonable hour as my eyelids droop at 9:30.

Not big things. Not exciting things. But good things. Oh, and obviously I couldn't stop at 10.

Posted by Alyssa at 09:45 PM
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March 01, 2002

Have you ever seen the "Got Milk?" commercial that's in Spanish? It's very peculiar, a ghost roaming through some people's house crying and ultimately looking for milk. She speaks Spanish at one point and the book the sleeping living inhabitant is reading is in Spanish. The tag line, however, is in English..."Got Milk?" I've been boggling about this commercial for some time. Not only is it odd, and would be odd even if it was in English, but it's kind of creepy. It's more so now that I know the history of it. This from

Ghost Sells Milk On TV
The California Milk Producers association is spending $2 million on an advertising blitz that features a ghost. Known as "La Llorona," or the Weeping Woman, the ghost reportedly drowned her children after being abandoned by her husband. She's being employed in a campaign aimed at California's huge Hispanic market, where the scary legend of La Llorona is known by millions of children. As in "Drink your milk or La Llorona will get you!"
- Parry Normal

I highly recommend visiting the site about La Llorona. It's very interesting and nicely done. Though I'm still not sure a child-killing ghost makes a good milk seller.

Posted by Alyssa at 07:48 PM
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